Monday, January 15, 2018

Lightbulb of Hope- Patrick's Story by Eileen Knowles

The other day on Facebook a story I had shared a few years back about a 15 year old deaf boy in Uganda showed up in my feed. I watched it again and cried.  Patrick was born deaf and had never been able to carry on a conversation with anyone. Every day, his dad would motion to him to go outside to work in the garden and that was the extent of his "conversations". 

Patrick's days consisted of working in the garden and then retreating back to his hut to spend his days alone with just his thoughts. That all changed when another man in the village who was deaf came back home and started a sign language class after receiving intensive training in the capital.  The transformation Patrick goes through in just a few short hours is amazing to watch.  After he enters class the first day, and begins learning alongside other deaf students, his face and demeanor goes from hopeless to happy in a matter of minutes.  It's absolutely beautiful!

The part of the story that makes me emotional is the moment when the "lightbulb" appears to go off in Patrick's mind.  You can almost see's that moment when he realizes that he is not alone any more, he sees a glimmer of possibility breaking into his small world that his life and situation may no longer be hopeless and isolating.

This morning, I watched a follow up video to Patrick's story. The interviewer goes back to the class after Patrick and the students have had 10 weeks worth of training together.  Please take a minute to watch.


Yesterday, at our volunteer rally at church, I shared how this story is such a great example of the healing power of life connected in community. When folks find a place to learn and grow "lightbulbs" of hope begin to shine bright in a person's life. We begin to realize that we don't have to remain alone in our own thoughts.  We realize there's a group of people who are willing to journey with grow and learn alongside us. We come to understand that our situations are not as unique or as hopeless as we once might have thought.

I loved in the video when the narrator said that Patrick and his classmates could now begin "making plans" for the future.  That's one of the benefits of hope, it will often prompt us to begin looking ahead in a whole new light and with a renewed and fresh perspective.

Patrick's story is a great reminder of how hope and community come together and transform even the most challenging of situations.


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